People touched by diabetes everywhere want Google's help! We're working fastidiously to gather signatures for a grassroots campaign to get the web search magnate to display a special decorative "doodle" on its home page to mark World Diabetes Day, coming up Nov. 14. But despite nearly 10,000 signatures gathered already — and the fact that diabetes plagues 250 million people worldwide — it's not looking good. And I'll tell you why.
First, let me point out that this effort was launched by the TuDiabetes and DiabetesDaily communities, and is supported by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the Diabetes Research Institute along with virtually all the active online diabetes resources including My Diabetes Central, dLife, Diabetes Talkfest, and of course, all us bloggers. Here's the latest word from organizers Manny and David, whose goal is to gather more than 20,000 signatures by Nov. 1:
Such a good and relevant cause, and so much support — so how can Google possibly say no?
I thought I'd take advantage of my connection with Google Health Product Manager Missy Krasner, so I approached her at last week's Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco to broach the subject. Surprisingly, she told me that she "sympathized," but that Google chooses its doodle subjects by pure metrics: "diabetes" is searched for a good bit in America, but not enough worldwide to make the doodle short list.
What? Doesn't Google feature doodles for some rather obscure causes, like the birthday of Louis Pasteur?
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I pursued the conversation via email and soon found myself corresponding with a woman from Google's Corporate Communications department, who replied:
"Generally, we choose doodles from a variety of categories, such as those that celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of artists and inventors. Is there a particular event related to diabetes that you were thinking of? While we know our list of doodles is not exhaustive, the doodle team tries to select doodles for events that show creativity and innovation in a fun, quirky way. Remember: this is Google, so doodles are often super nerdy like a celebration of the recent particle accelerator experiment in Europe. =) We also try to be sensitive that a doodle is not the most appropriate way to recognize certain events, especially those that are more somber in nature. I hope this helps explain."
A particular diabetes event?! Why yes, Ma'am! So I sent her all the details on WDD and information about the many, many signatures collected. Unfortunately, this is what came back:
"It's exciting to hear that many people are psyched about a diabetes doodle! Diabetes awareness is obviously a very worthy cause. Our doodles are planned months in advance, so unfortunately this year's World Diabetes Day won't be an option. We can, however, submit this internally for consideration for next year. I do think it's important to note that there are many worthy causes--even just in the health space alone--and we simply can't do a doodle for each of the thousands of requests we receive. Also, as I mentioned, many events are selected for doodles because of their quirk factor and fit with our brand. I know that's not a very satisfying answer, especially when this cause is so very personal to you, but I hope it helps explain why there are so many events and causes that are not ultimately made into doodles."
So I'm not holding too much hope that we'll get our doodle this year. Still, 20,000 signatures is a lot of patient power. Let's not give up yet! Not only that, but imagine mobilizing those 20,000 voices for some other cause(s) pertinent to diabetes. I bet we could collectively start to change the world.